Culture Religion News Roundup

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: WWPFD * Contraceptive persecution * Flatulent dem …

Statue of the late Pope Jon Paul in Poland, via The Associated Press
Statue of the late Pope Jon Paul in Poland, via The Associated Press

Statue of the late Pope Jon Paul in Poland, via The Associated Press

Guild privilege: Let’s start with a death, or rather the remembrance of a life, that of the extraordinary McCandlish Phillips, a New York Times reporter and devout Christian who in his journalistic prime left the Gray Lady – and a reputation as a remarkable wordsmith – to spend his final years in ministry in Manhattan.

Mark Silk parses and praises the fine Phillips obit in the Times, which made me nostalgic for the days when we reporters weren’t all punch-stamped click-counters. (Then again, it made me nostalgic for the days when newspapering was a viable industry. The pulpit looks more secure these days.)

Phillips major coup was exposing a Klan leader who was a born and raised Jew – a story that led the man to commit suicide. Phillips said that was God’s judgment. What would you have done? How would you have felt? Tough questions.

Legislation on immigration reform and gun control are actually, finally, moving ahead in Congress.

The gun-toting Episcopal bishop (yes, there is such a thing) of Oklahoma confesses that he is evolving toward greater acceptance of weapons regulation, and Baptist ethicist Bob Parham wants to drop the “i-word” – “illegal” – from the immigration lexicon.

Richard Land is leaving his Southern Baptist post as policy point man but he’s not going quietly, telling the Obama administration that requiring health insurers to cover contraceptives “is a form of religious persecution.”

Tough talk as well from Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell and his aides who were recorded plotting to attack Ashley Judd’s faith when it appeared the actress might try to run against McConnell. “The people at Southeast Christian (Church) would take to the streets with pitchforks,” one McConnell aide says of Judd’s religious views, which prompts laughter.

I wonder if the folks at Louisville’s Southeast Christian are laughing. McConnell is not, and the FBI is investigating.

Kentucky’s other senator, Republican Rand Paul, says America needs “a spiritual cleansing.” I think there’s a spa that does that.

On a related note, a Romanian man is suing his Orthodox bishop for failing to exorcise flatulent demons from his home.

In North Carolina, meanwhile, religious minorities are still leery even after a bill to endorse a state religion (think: Jesus) was pulled.

At Religion Dispatches, Shanny Luft goes counterintuitive and says yanking the bill was a mistake – if it won, the governmental embrace would have suffocated Christianity and given secularists a huge win.

Our Eye-Opening Read of the Week: Interfaith marriages are on the rise, but is that a good thing for faith — or marriage? Naomi Riley, author of a new book on the topic — and an intermarried herself — takes to the NYT op-ed pages to explain it all for you.

Eye for an eye, maybe. But Saudi Arabia says that news reports were wrong and it wasn’t going to paralyze a man who 10 years ago stabbed a friend when he was 14 and left the friend paralyzed.

Michelle Malkin isn’t ready to be so merciful. Even though jailed lawyer Lynne Stewart reportedly has stage-4 breast cancer, Malkin doesn’t want her to be freed because she still needs to pay for sneaking messages out from the Islamist terrorists she was representing.

“Now she wants mercy, medical comforts and freedom? No, hell, no. This messenger gal for murderous barbarians made her prison bed. Die in it,” says the conservative commentator.

Okay, on other topics, we look at two interesting Catholic priests: one a U.S. Army chaplain and possible saint who died in a Korean POW camp and is getting a big honor from the White House; the other a priest and Hollywood producer who is very much alive, and surviving the entertainment industry. Now that’s a miracle.

None of these priests is as big as the late John Paul II, and I mean that literally. A white (natch) fiberglass statue of the Polish pope, over 45-feet tall, is set for completion in the southern Polish city of Czestochowa, site a the country’s most important shrine. (AP photo above)

Then again, the new pope, Francis, is as big as Jesus: Father Jim Martin (a Jesuit like Francis, hmmmm….) is promoting the WWPFD meme, as in What Would Pope Francis Do?

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 10.04.30 AM

Paging Jack Chick…

How about this: Can a Catholic hoops conference save college sports? Read my story.

France’s chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, says he won’t quit despite admitting to plagiarism and other deceptions.

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David Gibson

About the author

David Gibson

David Gibson is a national reporter for RNS and an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He has written several books on Catholic topics. His latest book is on biblical artifacts: "Finding Jesus: Faith. Fact. Forgery," which was also the basis of a popular CNN series.

6 Comments

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  • oops. Malkin’s comments were about former leftist attorney Lynne Stewart. Lynne Abraham was the Philadephia district attorney for 20 years and prosecuted leftist cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal.

  • Whoa, Garson, thank you! What a brain lock. Too much time covering Lynne Abraham and the Philly sex abuse story. DG

  • Your whole round up today is a good explanation of why I consider myself a Progressive and not a so called “Conservative” Christian. It should not be WWPFD it should always be WWJD for he is the teacher of the Pope as well. Malchin’s comments disgust me but they always do. Faux Christianity, I hate it! What Jesus taught and what these “Conservative” Christians preach are two entirely different things. “Starve!” by John Hagee immediately comes to mind. No, I’ll take Jesus love and compassion over these conservative teachings any day! But, I’m just one of those disabled Christians who is on SSDI who John Hagee is so eager to see starve. Those are earned benefits not something just given to me and I just love living on about a $1000 a month. Makes life really easy Mr. Hagee!

  • SSDI charity payments to disabled folk are not earned, they are dollars that are forcibly taken from others. The current social security taxes cannot even cover the retirement benefits that are to be paid out. Those who are disabled should be on the dole, I have no problem with my money being given to such folk. But charity is not earned, it is given.

  • The HHS mandate is illegal interference in individual liberty. It is a precursor to a totalitarian government. The frog is in the pot, and the heat is on.

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